Kalle Nämdeman (1883-1945) was the stage name of Karl Gustafsson, a Swedish songwriter, performer and recording artist. In America his humorous songs were recorded by Hjalmar Peterson, who also published them in his songbooks. The most popular of these was "Flickan på Bellmansro" (The Girl at Bellmansro), a story of unrequited love in Stockholm's Djurgården park.
— See PDF files for Swedish lyrics —
Tracks 01-32: Kalle Nämdeman
Tracks 33-36: Hjalmar Peterson
Tracks 37-52: various artists
RUSTIC HUMOR LP 1971
A native of Stockholm, Karl Gustafsson was born on New Year's Eve 1883. He began performing as Kalle Nämdeman around the turn of the century and initially portrayed a dandy. He then developed his signature character of the "Malay", a military recruit consigned to menial duties, a figure that inspired countless imitators.
If by "rustic comedian" one means an artist with a folk repertoire who dresses in peasant clothing, this was only partly true of Kalle Nämdeman. A folk repertoire he had, but he appeared mostly in evening dress or on occasion in military uniform. His humor was unrefined, and he had a quick wit. He wrote songs of the traditional music hall type, but his strong suit was in portraying the life of the common people in songs like "When Mother Celebrates her 50th Birthday" and "There's A Party At The Gustafson's". Throughout his career he lived in Stockholm, whose residents were more highly regarded than those living in rural areas. Although he spoke in the dialect of Stockholm and not, for instance, of Östergötland, that hardly put him off limits as a "rustic comedian", even if he stubbornly rejected the label.
Between 1923 and 1930 Kalle Nämdeman recorded seventy songs and stories. Often writing both the music and lyrics himself, he also made use of folk melodies. His songs — such as those depicting everyday events and military drudgery — were characterized by a kind of black humor that could be rather coarse. As a stage performer he was instantly likable, but his high spirits were sometimes derailed by a lack of control. His songs about Stockholm can definitely be compared with the similar works of Emil Norlander.
In the early 1940s Stockholmer Kalle Nämdeman moved to Virserum in Småland because of illness and difficulty in obtaining engagements. He died June 28, 1945 at Västervik's Hospital.
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